Smart Python programmers not only code well but also do it in style. And becoming a good programmer may take longer than you expect. However, if you choose the best Python IDE, then you can certainly reduce your coding efforts.
Usually, IDLE is the Python IDE that comes with the standard Python package. It allows quick editing and execution of Python scripts. However, it lacks a lot of features that can increase speed and boost productivity.
Picking up the right IDE is crucial as it can help you automate a lot of tasks and ease up project management. So you must wisely choose a development tool that you won’t regret using later in the project lifecycle.
It is the decision that you should make as you know your interest, business case, and the feasibility. Hence, you must go on reviewing a set of top IDEs before concluding the best Python IDE.
There are a no. of factors you might like to consider for shortlisting. Here are a few points to make an entry-level distinction.
- An ideal Python IDE should support multiple platforms like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS.
- Check if it is available for free or is an open source with a GPL license.
- Also, confirm if the IDE has a community version which suits students and beginners learning Python.
IT companies or the professionals working with big organizations might have access to paid version of commercial IDEs. Just to name a few are Komodo, PyCharm, Sublime, and Wing IDE.
However, freelancers, individuals or students aren’t that fortunate. But they too can go out for free and open source alternatives.
Interestingly, we’d earlier published a list of 10 best Python interpreters which you can check out later. They could be useful if you have a few lines of code to test and run. People mostly use them for a quick brush up of their Python programming skills.
Next, in the section is the list of 10 best Python IDE voted as most advanced and feature rich by experienced and professional programmers.
- PyDev Plugin for Eclipse – Best Python IDE [Freeware]
- PyCharm – The Best IDE for Python Developers [Paid + Fully-featured version]
- Wing IDE – Python Programming
- Cloud9 – The Revolutionary Python IDE
- Eric – The Open Source Python IDE
- Spyder Python – Best Python IDE for Data Science
- Sublime Text 3 – Full Stack Python IDE
- Ninja – The Flexible Python IDE
- Komodo IDE – The Best IDE for WEB and Mobile Development
- VIM – A Bare Bone Python IDE
All of these IDEs are extremely popular and ranked as the best till date.
Top 10 Python IDEs for Python Programming.
PyDev is one of the commonly used Python IDE and is a natural choice of many Python developers coming from Java background. It is the 5th most popular Eclipse plugin by its all-time usage count. Also, it is meaningless to say that you won’t need to spare a penny to land it in your service.
It was Aleksandar Totic, who is famous for his contribution to Mosaic browser, worked on PyDev project during 2003-2004. However, Fabio Zadrozny is now the developer actively maintaining the plugin.
Working with PyDev is a no-brainer for existing Eclipse users. However, if you are not, then it won’t take you long to learn Eclipse.
PyDev brings some of the key features for Python developers that are more than enough to make them choose it as the best Python IDE. Its top features are Django integration, Just-In-Time Python debugging, auto code completion, code inspection, Go to definition, and refactoring. It supports GIT integration for source code control, also enables code coverage, UML views and allows editing. On top of these features, it adds functions like smart indent, bracket identification, error markup and facilitates unit testing. You can even use its keyboard shortcuts and ease up on using Mouse for every IDE action.
With such an incredible feature list, there is nothing which can beat PyDev to become the best Python IDE. But it is customary to mention that the plugin also has a sibling known as LICLIPSE. It is a superset of PyDev and adds support for Django templates, Dart, HTML, JS, and CSS. Though, it costs a license before use.
Below is a direct link to download the latest version of PyDev from its official website.
PyCharm is a complete Python IDE loaded with a rich set of features. It is the software company, JetBrains, which is behind the development of PyCharm. And it has left no stone unturned in making this tool up to date while meeting the growing needs of Python developers.
It is an enterprise-level product which offers two variations – the first is community edition, free for non-commercial usage and next is the premium version for advanced as well as enterprise users.
For basic users, the free version is enough to start their work and get going. It includes almost every feature you might seek in an IDE – Auto code completion, quick project navigation, built-in version control support, code inspection/refactoring, PEP8 quality audit, fast error checking and correction, UI level debugging and integrated AUT testing. Other key features it adds are integration with IPyhon notebook and support for Anaconda as well as packages like NumPy and MatPlotLib for scientific computing.
High-level features like remote development support, database accessibility, and ability to use extensible web development frameworks (WDF) exist only in the premium version of PyCharm.
Most developers choose it as the best Python IDE because of its sheer scale to work with a no. of WDFs like Django, Web2Py, GAPP, Flask, and Pyramid. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best IDEs for creating small to large scale web applications.
You can download the freeware community edition or try out professional version of PyCharm by clicking at the below link.
WING is also one of the top IDE alternatives for Python programmers. It is a paid solution from WingWare. The company made big investments in Wing and added many new and relevant features. Also, it has released a no. of updates over the years.
Like PyCharm, Wing also supports Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. It is compatible with multiple Python versions including the recently released ones (Python 2.5-3.5 and Stackless Python). And the company offers three types of packages; a Freeware with moderate features, a personal version for individual users and a high-end edition for the enterprise users.
WING Python IDE is an intelligent code editor and a great debugging tool. Both these features together make Python coding easy, interactive, accurate, and speedy. It has a robust graphical debugger which enables to set breakpoints, navigating through code, monitoring data, multi-process/multi-threaded code debugging and also supports Remote debugging on SOC (System On Chip) devices like Raspberry PI.
Also, it comes with the ability to blend with different version control systems like GIT, CVS, SVN, Mercurial, and Perforce. So the users can perform check-in/checkout and manage merge/conflict from within the IDE.
WING team ensured that the IDE supports all the major Python frameworks available as of today. Just to name a few of these frameworks are PyQT, PyGTK, PySide, Zope, MotionBuilder, Django, and a lot more. It also supports Matplotlib where the plots get updated automatically.
The latest Wing IDE version is 5.1 which brought a lot of enhancements in its functionality. The Debugger gets an improvement to auto debug child processes. Both the Python Shell and Debug Probe will now allow syntax highlighting. The built-in testing tool would now use PyTest unit testing framework and archive all result in the project workspace with the timestamp of last execution.
If the above features suit your needs, then don’t mind giving it a try. Just click the below button and download WING.
You may argue about the popularity of Python. But it is way ahead of just being a language for Programmers. In real-time, it not only served high-quality visual effects for movies but also has surpassed French as the most popular language that came out of a survey. And to add a few more feathers, Cloud9 came to deliver one of the best Python IDE and took the user experience a notch higher.
The Cloud9 Python IDE has everything a programmer would like and accept from a next generation code editor. It allows writing code in the cloud and enables collaborative access, anywhere, anytime.
This IDE provides the most advanced form of code completion. You can use it in the entire project, libraries, and with inline help docs. Also, it uses Pylint for tracking general errors, coding mistakes, and the styling issues. You can enforce these settings or customize with a PyLintRC file or set them from the command line.
It supports both Python version 2/3 which you can select from the project configuration. It has a built-in Django template. And you can use the “jump to definition” feature inside the Django source code. This IDE now also supports Flask which is a micro framework for light-weight apps. To work with Pylint, it gives you Pylint-Flask plugin.
With such an impressive features, it is worth to give the Cloud9 IDE a try. So click the below button, get registered and begin using it.
Eric is an open-source Python IDE written using Python and QT framework. It derived the name Eric from Monty Python’s Eric Idle. Despite being a non-commercial product, it has all the features needed for professional software development.
The creator of Eric is Detlev Offenbach, a senior system engineer from Munich. He has maintained it from last so many years so that it can compete with any of its peers. Talking about its usage and downloads, it is second to none. And the IDE is available under the GPL license for unlimited usage.
Eric has a robust plugin manager which you can use to extend the functionality by adding appropriate plugins.The latest and stable version is Eric6 built on PyQt5/4 and Python2/3.
Some of the standard features Eric provides are code completion, bracket matching, call tips, syntax highlighting, class browser, code profiling, and integrated unit tests. Also, developers can make use of its form preview function while working on a QT GUI application. However, watch the below list that makes Eric stands out against competitors like PyCharm/Wing.
- Integrated debugger support for multithreaded/multiprocess applications
- Automatic code checkers (syntax/error/style checking)
- Integrated task list function
- Intuitive project management
- Built-in Unitest support
- Inbuilt Python shell
- Ability to spawn external programs from within IDE
- Addons for Regex and QT dialogs
- Localization support for English, German, French and six more international languages
- Integrated web browser
- Rope refactoring, application diagrams, and advanced spell checking.
No other open source Python editor comes even near to match Eric. Hence, it is one of the best Python IDE amongst the free wares. You can download it from the below link.
Spyder is a specialized Python IDE for data science and engineering. Its full name is Scientific Python Development Environment. However, it is more science-centric but even useful for standard programming tasks.
The IDE began its journey with Pydee as Code name. And it was Pierre Raybaut who gave it the real shape as Spyder. It is now an open source and driven by the Spyder developer community.
Spyder supports all the three major platforms Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. And it comes with a set of primary features like localized code editor, document viewer, variable explorer, integrated console, and supports Search/Replace in file/files.
It supports a no. of scientific modules like NumPy, SciPy, Matplotlib, and IPython. Additionally, it allows adding plugins to enable data inspection and tools for quality assurance as well as introspection, e.g. Pyflakes, Pylint, and Rope.
Spyder also has an object inspector tool where you can search for documentation of a class, function, and module. It adds support for multiple Python consoles and lends us the ability to explore and edit variables at runtime.
Interestingly, it not only works as a full-fledged Python IDE but can also link to PyQT applications as an extension library.
So these were some of the qualities that helped us declare Spyder as one of the best Python IDE. If you also found it worth reviewing, then please click the below link to download it.
Sublime Text 3 also know as ST3 is an extremely fast and lightweight Python IDE for professional development. Incredible speed, ease of use and enduring community support are some of its primary traits. However, it has a highly customizable eco-system that includes features like package control and custom settings are the cornerstones of its success.
It is not even fast but also consumes lesser memory than any other Python IDE. It is vital for preserving a good user experience while working with a large client project or multiple files simultaneously.
One of the most frequently used packages is Anaconda which adds desired functionality to ST3. It brings features like auto code completion, code lint using PyLint or PyFlakes, McCabe code complexity checker, Goto definitions, Find usage, and Show documentation.
Other packages you can try are Djanerio for Django templating and code highlighting, Git gutter, FTP sync, and Emmet to generate HTML/CSS code snippets. We’ve given below two links: The first one is the direct URL to download ST3 whereas other is for downloading ST3 along with Anaconda package.
Ninja is a cross-platform and lightweight IDE developed using Python and PyQt. It is also open source and free developer tool to simplify the professional software development.
It runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X-based platforms and supports multiple programming languages. The brains behind Ninja had a common objective that would improve the efficiency of a Python developer and always keeping it fast and lightweight for anyone to use.
It was not one person who created Ninja IDE, but it is the work of many like-minded developers. All of them thrived to deliver a world-class Python IDE now used by a large section of the Python community.
Talking about its features, it supports the most needed functions like file handling, adjustable editor screen, code search, go to any line, tabs, and auto indenting. It does smart project management by archiving meta information about the projects. You can add/edit/delete all files/folders inside a project. It also generates <__init__.py> code for each module.
A no. of its salient features are code auto-completion, code assistant, locator, navigation, easy project management, customizable UI, web inspector, session handling, code profiling, error/ PEP8 checker, Code jumps, breakpoints/bookmarks navigation, and VirtualEnv support.
Apart from the above features, you can extend the functionality by adding a no. of existing plugins. Some of the notable plugins are Git for source code control, Django for web development, Sphinx builder, and SVN. However, you can write own add-ons to fill any gaps you found.
So Ninja gives enough control and features to create a large business web application and lets you finish it on time. Hence, it was inevitable for us not to add Ninja in the list of best Python IDE. See the download URL below.
Komodo is a polyglot IDE which supports 100+ languages (e.g. Python, PHP, GO, Perl, Ruby, NodeJS, HTML, CSS) on any operating system. It is a commercial tool available for 21 days trial with full functionality. ActiveState is the software company managing the development of the Komodo IDE. It also offers a trimmed version of Komodo known as Komodo Edit for simple programming tasks.
Being supported by such a large company as ActiveState, Komodo got all kinds of features from most basic to advanced and also features that you won’t see in any other Python IDE. If you indeed want to invest in an IDE, then it’s worth going after Komodo. Fortunately, if you are a student or a freelancer, then you can buy it almost half of the actual price. However, it’s completely free for teachers and professors from recognized institutions and universities.
Let’s now try to catch over a few of its key features which include code browser, go to definition, code refactoring, brace matching, code auto-completion, call tips, GUI for multithreaded/multiprocess debugging, code profile/coverage, breakpoint configuration. Other out of the box features are inbuilt unit testing support and the integration with 3rd party modules like PyWin32.
Komodo has some lesser known features which give it an edge over competitors in the commercial IDE space. It enables package manager integration, track changes, markdown viewer, shell scope, go to almost anywhere and a toolbox to allow creating personalized IDE workflows.
Now, let’s do a feature recap to answer “Why is Komodo the best Python IDE for web development?”.
It is because of features like multilingual, inbuilt DOM viewer, CSS viewer, RegEx editor, HTTP inspector, support for PhoneGap and Cordova emulators, Gulp/Grunt integration, Debugging web app using Chrome, and a matured developer community.
Below are two download links for Komodo Edit (Free) and Paid Komodo versions.
VIM is an amazingly configurable Python IDE for quick development. It is universal, fast, and never breaks down. Its full name is Vi Improved. VIM proponents believe the long list of plugins, Vim script, and the logical command language as its primary strengths.
For every Python developer, there is a real need to get rid of routine tasks. So they like to use features like auto code completion, syntax/error highlighting, dependency checks, quick-fixes, code refactoring, code debugger, 3rd party framework support, unit testing, Version control, Search and navigation, project management, remote development support, and PEP-8 compliance checks. And all these features must operate together in a reliable, efficient and stable fashion.
Vim can supplement the need of developers and help them becoming productive. A developer’s thoughts should always flow through the keyboard and onto the screen. Mouse or any other peripheral may distract a developer from turning his thoughts into programmable code.
There are many plugins you can use for additional features like the PyDiction to tab-complete Python code for keywords, built-ins, standard library, and 3rd party modules. Other plugins to use with VIM are SnippetsEmu for emulating TextMate snippet expansion and VcsCommand for source code control. NerdTree is another plugin for navigating the filesystem. It displays the filesystem in a tree format and allows running simple file operations. Most of these features are available at Vim.org.
In addition to above tips, for indentation and line-wrapping, configure the <.vimrc> to supply settings compliant with PEP8. You may find setting up VIM a little difficult, but it’ll be easy going afterward. However, for developers using Linux, it is easy to adopt VIM as the development tool. To learn more about it and download its latest release, click on the below link.
Summary – Best Python IDE for Python Programming.
Python has been one of the preferred programming languages from ages. And many IDEs surfaced during this period with different shapes and features. But only a few could manage to keep up with the growing technical challenges.
In this post, we tried to focus only on IDEs with most relevant features. And then, we choose the ten best Python IDE based on their platform coverage, speed, ease of use, simple project management, and not but least the cost.
So you should now apply your wisdom and pick at least two or more IDE for the test drive. However, if you’ve already thought it through, then give it a try with full conviction.
Also, if you have a different opinion or a suggestion, then please share it in comments.